Tate sixth in CIF masters wrestling tournament

Fallbrook High School senior Andrew Tate concluded his high school wrestling career with a sixth-place finish in the CIF masters tournament Feb. 22 and 23 at Eastlake High School.

“He has nothing to hang his head about,” said Fallbrook coach Greg Wagaman. “He’s never lost a match because he wasn’t wrestling tough.”

Tate’s fourth-place finish at the CIF Division I wrestling tournament Feb. 16 qualified him for the all-division masters tournament. He was seeded seventh among master wrestlers in the 147-pound class.

Tate received a first-round bye and opened the tournament against Harrison Wilson of La Jolla High School. Tate pinned Wilson midway in the second period.

Tate’s second-round opponent was second-seeded Antonio Perez of Central Union High School, who took a 14-6 victory against Tate. “Antonio was a really, really tough kid,” Wagaman said.

A pre-seeding formula originally seeded Perez 13th, primarily because an ankle injury caused him to miss tournaments. The coaches changed his seeding to second, bumping Rancho Buena Vista’s Joey Granger a position.

In Tate’s first consolation bracket match he positioned himself to face Granger by pinning sixth-seeded Marcus Cerda of Oceanside High School eight seconds into the third period. “We’d been hearing about this kid all season long,” Wagaman said. “He turned out being a pretty tough kid.”

The match between Tate and Cerda was scoreless after the first period, and Tate led by two points after the second period. “They just kind of beat each other up a little bit,” Wagaman said.

Granger entered the consolation bracket after being paired against top seed and eventual champion Victor Lopez of Poway. During the CIF Division I tournament Tate lost to eventual champion Alex Gallo of Escondido High School, who won the Division I championship with a victory over Granger in the finals. In the masters consolation bracket Granger defeated Tate by a 7-4 decision. “That was a heartbreaker,” Wagaman said.

Although wrestling tournaments have a double-elimination format, Tate had done well enough in his first four rounds to be assured of a placement match even though he lost to Granger. Tate began the Feb. 23 session with a 4-2 decision over Zack Vann of La Costa Canyon High School. The deciding two points were from a takedown in the overtime period. “He put the kid on his back when the kid threw a leg ride on him,” Wagaman said. “Andy actually fought off a really good shot from Vann.”

That placed Tate into the match to determine fifth and sixth place. “He was pretty tired,” Wagaman said. “Nobody likes to go into overtime.”

Tate’s opponent in the fifth-place match was Leon Shlemoon of El Cajon Valley High School. Shlemoon earned fifth place with a 2-1 decision over Tate. “There were opportunities to win the match,” Wagaman said.

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